Stealth anti-Pebble resolution on Mat-Su agenda? - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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Stealth anti-Pebble resolution on Mat-Su agenda?

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The borough manager of Mat-Su is asking the Assembly to approve a resolution that some say is a stealth endorsement of the “Yes for Salmon” initiative that appears to be headed for the November ballot. That initiative is a shot across the bow of the proposed Pebble project in western Alaska, but also has industries worried across the state.

Manager John Moosey’s resolution wording is elastic, but supports “requirements that outline a clear standard so that responsible resource development protects our fisheries and enhances our communities and our economies.”

The resolution is on the consent agenda of the Assembly’s Tuesday meeting. That’s what has some eyebrows raised.

Consent agendas typically are approved without much discussion, allowing governing bodies to sweep up routine business into one action. The items on a consent agenda are considered noncontroversial and self-explanatory, matters that can be consolidated and approved with one motion and vote, and usually take less than 30 seconds of a meeting.

The resolution loosely describes the need for “science-based standards and forward looking policies to help ensure a balance between the critical fish and wildlife resources of the region with other needs of the population, including responsible resource development.” These are all things that the State is already charged with doing — using science and balancing competing needs.

Skeptics wonder where the wording came from and who is behind the resolution. Brian Endle, one such critic, wrote that the resolution will:

  • Increase restrictions on nearly all development, especially the oil industry
  • Increase the ability of groups inside or outside of Alaska to bring litigation against Alaskan industry
  • Increase project time span and costs for Alaskan industry via permitting
  • Drastically increase the cost and decrease the ability to build ice roads in Alaska
  • Support riparian regulations (government regulation of shoreline)

But Borough Manager John Moosey explains that in 2017, the Alaska Board of Fisheries made a recommendation to strengthen the Department of Fish and Game’s permitting program by considering the creation of enforceable standards aimed at protecting fish habitat and guiding the permitting process. Alaska’s Title 16 has not been updated since statehood, he wrote.

However, the Yes for Salmon (or Stand for Salmon) initiative proponents are saying the same thing: A rewrite of Title 16 is needed to prioritize salmon habitat over all other needs and human endeavors. Yes for Salmon is a requirement that all andronomous fish be protected through stringent regulations throughout the watersheds of Alaska.

Some say that will destroy  mining, oil, and gas, and that the initiative is a naked attempt to shut down the Pebble Project by creating standards that are impossible to meet.

The Mat-Su Borough meeting is Tuesday, May 15 at 6 pm in the Assembly Chambers, 350 E. Dahlia Ave., Palmer.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Cottonwood Creek is a good example of a poorly regulated watershed. There is definitely room for better permitting standards across salmon and trout habitat in the borough.

  • PEBBLE OPPONENTS want to destroy alaska to reach the goal of their masters the rich lawyers and their foreign donors at NRDC

    They spread fake science and lies

    • Stand for Alaska’s biggest supporters:
      ConocoPhillips: Texas company
      Hecla Mining: Idaho company
      Teck Alaska: A CANADIAN mining company.
      You were saying something about foreign donors?

      Pebble opponents want to protect their resources from mining spills and contamination so we can prosper for years to come. Not everyone lives in the city round here, some of us still eat fish and game…

  • Face it readers, if we do not give our flimsy Title 16 some teeth (the state’s singular salmon habitat protection law, which happens to be one vague sentence worth of pseudo-regulation), then we will watch as our Pacific salmon resource goes the way of the rest of the runs on the Pacific coast of North America. That is just an unacceptable proposition, and with a growing population and many building projects on the way, we citizens need to make sure we don’t wreck the runs. Yes for Salmon is designed to work hand-in-hand with developers to build things the right way. Those who cry foul and claim the sky is falling because citizens want development that is built to last and designed around our crucial salmon’s needs don’t have their heads in it for the long game.

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